Police have identified a woman who was killed after the pickup truck she was driving late Sunday collided with another vehicle, also leaving her male passenger dead and injuring her two children, one critically.
Mesa police identified the driver as Reyna Pacheco, 42, of Mesa but have not released her 28-year-old passenger’s name, pending notification of relatives, according to Detective Steven Berry, spokesman for the Mesa Police Department.
Pacheco was driving a Toyota Tacoma southbound on Gilbert Road and was in the left turn lane when she abruptly turned right onto Eighth Avenue, but was struck by another pickup truck. Pacheco was attempting to cross three lanes of traffic when the collision occurred, Berry said.
The boys in Pacheco’s vehicle, Matthew and Samuel Valenzuela, both 7, and about 11 months apart, were taken to Maricopa County Medical Center in Phoenix.
Matthew Valenzuela was listed in good condition at the hospital on Monday, and Samuel Valenzuela remained in critical condition, according to Michael Murphy, spokesman for Maricopa County Medical Center.
The two men in the other pickup truck were not injured, Berry said.
The boys’ father could not be reached for comment.
The boys are both students at Whittier Elementary School at 733 N. Longmore in Mesa, said Kathy Bareiss, spokeswoman for the Mesa Unified School District. Matthew is in kindergarten and Samuel is in the second grade, Bareiss said.
Bareiss described the school’s neighborhood west of Alma School Road near Eighth Street as a tight-knit community and said the school’s staff learned about the crash this morning.
“She (Pacheco) was very involved with her children and picked her kids up every day,” Bareiss said. “Many members of the school’s staff knew her. Our hearts are with them and the family. This is definitely a tragedy.”